Celluloid Tracings: Films by Bill Morrison | Chicago Reader

Celluloid Tracings: Films by Bill Morrison

Eleven short, often dreamy collages of found footage with trippy sound tracks. Many of the films have won festival awards, but their loosely connected images and repeated use of lengthy fast-motion takes reminded me of Godfrey Reggio?s dreadfully shallow 1983 feature Koyaanisqatsi long before Morrison thanked Reggio in the credits. Some of Morrison?s films were commissioned for stage productions, and they?re effective in creating environments if one doesn't ask much of them structurally. My favorite, The Death Train, links images of a movie camera?s mechanism with footage taken from a train, provocatively connecting these 19th-century machines, but then we're unaccountably launched over a city at night. The Film of Her is based on a 1939 incident in which a Library of Congress employee rescued the rolls of paper that preserved early films; in this version, he?s driven by images of a long-forgotten porn actress. Morrison will attend the screening.

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